Neo Brutalism Web Design: A Comprehensive Guide To Master This UI Design Trend

Brian Bojan Dordevic
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Brian Decoded

President at Alpha Efficiency

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Do you want to try the neo brutalism web design trend on your projects but are unsure how to nail this daunting style? Or perhaps you have already tried this design trend, but it didn’t quite come off as you pictured it.

Neo brutalist design is as captivating and bold as it is challenging to master. Even the most experienced designers struggle to find the right balance between striking and vibrant colors and a minimalist, raw vibe. The tiniest misstep can lead to a dizzying design that overwhelms users.

But since neo-brutalism is strongly back in style, I understand you want to use this technique in your work. At my Chicago web design agency, I learned that experimenting with a new trend is the best way to excel at it and smoothly apply it to your projects.

In this article, I will explore the innovative style of neo-brutalism and its main aesthetic features, helping you determine whether this trend is a good fit for your next design project.

Table of Contents:
Neo brutalism web design

What Is Neo Brutalism in Website Design?

The neo brutalism design trend borrows a lot from the brutalism architectural movement that took place between the 1950s and 1970s. This architectural style was characterized by the use of raw and modern materials, shape edges, asymmetrical shapes, and rough textures. Brutalism broke the rules of conventional design, taking an approach to straightforward and functional designs.

Neo brutalism for UI design maintains many characteristics of the brutalism movement but complements the style with features that add interest and dynamism. It preserves the flat, raw look but includes a vibrant and contrasting color palette, geographical shapes, and unique typography.

By using the neo-brutalism style, you can create a modern and distinctive website design that provides a remarkable user experience.

Is Neo Brutalism a Minimalist Style?

Due to the raw and simplistic nature of neo brutalism, many designers wonder if this style is associated with minimalism. Neo brutalism relates to minimalism to some degree, but these are two completely different design approaches.

Minimalist graphic design involves using as few elements as possible, a limited color palette of neutral colors, and no extravagant shapes or patterns. Neo brutalism, on the other hand, stands out for its raw, straightforward design but also its use of bold colors and wild shapes.

Their differences don’t make these two styles incompatible. You can build a minimalist design that still includes all the typical elements of the neo brutalism trend.

Aesthetic Features of The Neo Brutalism Web Design Trend

Neo brutalism web design has some very particular principles you must understand before jumping into this trend. Learning more about this style’s unique aesthetic features will give you a headstart to create a stunning neo brutalism website that users feel drawn to and keep coming back to.

Bold Color Palette

Color palette for neo brutalism web design

If something makes this trend stand out its distinctive use of colors. Neo brutalism favors bold and energetic colors, putting special emphasis on strong color contrast. Bright primaries, neon hues, and a contrasting color palette demonstrate the daunting and lively nature of this design style.

Unlike a maximalist color palette, neo brutalism design doesn’t always feature a lot of colors. However, the colors it includes must be bright and vibrant. I advise you to pay special attention to colors when working with this trend, as they are the core of neo brutalism. Learning about color theory will enhance your design and help you convey the desired mood or emotion,

This characteristic makes neo brutalism ideal for creative and innovative brands looking to grab users’ attention from the first glance at their website.

No Subtle Shadows

Continuing challenging design norms, neo brutalism says goodbye to the conventional soft shadows most designers are used to.

In neo brutalism, shadows lack blurring. Instead of barely visible borders, this style prefers thick, well-defined colored outlines around the design element. Those “shadows” exhibit full color and are positioned on both the x and y axes.

So, instead of traditional soft shadows, use solid black (or colored) rectangles framing major design elements. This will create a pop-up effect that you can use to highlight call-to-actions, buttons, ornamental elements, cards, and other design elements.

Use Prominent Separators

Separators are used to create divisions between content blocks and guide the user through the site. In neo brutalism, these divisions are typically marked with thick and bold lines or prominent shapes that break up the different design spaces.

You can create rough and unpolished separations, enhancing the overall feel of this raw and wild trend.

Decorative Typography

As a designer, you already know the impact typography has on branding and web design. Neo brutalism takes that a step further.

Typography matches neo brutalism nature by standing raw and unfinished. Bold display fonts with strong geometric shapes rule the show, and experimentation is highly encouraged. Nevertheless, remember that readability must be your priority, so experiment, but don’t stray away from accessible fonts.

These are some typography tips for neo brutalism designs:

  • Sans Serif are the most popular fonts for this style.
  • Use large sizes for headings.
  • Experiment with line height and tracking in typography. 

Asymmetrical Layout and Geometric Shapes

Noe brutalism design is determined to break the rules, and nothing steps out of conventional design norms as asymmetrical web design.

When working on a neo brutalism project, get ready to embrace asymmetry. While symmetry is the default choice for most web designs, asymmetry has its advantages too. This approach adds visual interest and enables you to direct users’ attention towards the main design elements or important sections.

Neobrutalism cares more about creating unique designs than prioritizing symmetry. Most of the time, this results in asymmetrical layouts. This trend often achieves uniqueness by using asymmetric geometric shapes for buttons, backgrounds, and other UI design elements.

How Does Neo Brutalism Impact User Experience?

Impact of Neo Brutalism on UX

As new trends unfold, technology evolves, and users’ preferences change, it is crucial for websites to stay fresh and updated. Neo brutalism converges many of the current web design trends to create a unique composition that leaves a long-lasting impression on users.

Neo-brutalism’s bold visuals and asymmetric layout immediately grab users’ attention, encouraging them to explore your design further. Furthermore, the vibrant colors, strong contrast, and unique typography improve usability by effectively organizing information and guiding visitors’ eyes through the content.

However, despite how visually captivating neo brutalism web design is, it can be challenging to create a design that adheres to website accessibility standards.

How To Build an Accessible Neo Brutalism Website Design?

When working on UX design, accessibility should be your number one priority. It’s worth noting that the neo brutalism trend is not always accessibility-friendly. Vibrant colors and asymmetrical layouts can present issues for users with certain disabilities.

To ensure an accessible design that all visitors can easily use, you can implement alternative text for images, make good use of contrast color techniques to enhance readability, and implement screen reading tests.

When working on a neo brutalism project, it’s crucial to strike a balance between accessibility and aesthetics. That way, you will embrace the striking and bold nature of this trend while still providing an enjoyable user experience.

When Should You Use Neo Brutalism Style for Web Design?

It’s worth noting that neo brutalism is not a fit for every brand. When deciding if you should use this style, consider how it aligns with the brand’s essence and goals. Is your brand innovative and energetic? If so, a neo brutalism website design may be a good fit. Or is your business more conservative and elegant? Then, you may be better off with a more timeless trend, such as a full minimalist design.

You should also bear in mind that as trends come in, they also come to an end. Neo brutalism is highly popular right now, and it’s likely we will continue to see it pop up everywhere for a while. Still, if you are aiming for a timeless design that starts relevant in the long run, you may consider another approach.

Another thing to keep in mind is responsiveness. Neo brutalism designs are not easy to adapt to mobile devices and applications. Consistency in branding is key, so make sure you are up to the task when committing to the neo brutalism style.

Final Thoughts

Are you ready to build a unique digital experience with the neo brutalism web design trend?

This design style can be daunting and challenging, but it can also lead to an eye-catching and immersive experience that engages users and promotes interactions.

If your brand aligns with neo brutalism’s features—bold, creative, and vibrant—and you want a design that prioritizes functionality, then I’d say you can’t find a better fit. Take advantage of this trend’s booming popularity and build a UI design that captivates your website visitors and keeps them coming back for more.

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